November 27, 2009


Lone Tree image courtesy of photos_mweber on flickr

My husband Eric and I were talking about the kind of Christmas tree we might like this year. We always do something a little different. Shapely pines with burlap-wrapped roots, placed in large urns for planting later. Thin branches of red dogwood standing tall in galvanized buckets. Traditional trees with boughs cut on New Year's Day and placed on our garden beds. But that was when we had soil and gardens. Now... we live in the sand at the beach. Not the Bahamian sort of beach shown in the photograph above but a New England-y beach on the north shore of Massachusetts. We remember this stunning Lone Tree on Harbour Island. It arrived there during hurricane Andrew in 1992. The large almond tree {some say a species of pine} landed in an upright position on the beach just to the north of Dunmore Town. Maybe the Lone Tree and all of its natural beauty will be our inspiration this year. What inspires you this holiday?

November 25, 2009


Schott Zwiesel champagne saucers and Veuve Clicquot champagne bucket
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love everything about it—all the planning, phone chats around menus and table settings, thoughts about graciousness and gratefulness and giving thanks... being with family and friends, laughter and champagne. This Thanksgiving, try to take a true break and be in the moment. As my way of giving thanks to you, here is a fun 1965 pilot by Aaron Spelling that was never aired called, The Decorator with Bette Davis. Sit down with a glass of champagne and have a good laugh! All the best to you this Thanksgiving and I thank you for reading My Dog-Eared Pages. oxo

November 24, 2009


One of the hundreds of pages that captured my interest over the years reading House & Garden magazine, included a story about Silkwork by Christopher Finch. These vivid tableaux became fashionable with the opening up of the China Trade during the eighteenth century—and depict scenes from mythology to the Mayflower. During this time when silk thread became available, young women learned the craft of silk embroidery to demonstrate accomplishment and breeding. Unlike the more commonplace needlework samplers that were stitched on grounds of linen or canvas, the intricate pattern of stitches on Silkwork were created on satin or moiré backgrounds. The lovely piece shown above is from a dog-eared page I saved as inspiration for a front hall mural that we never got around to installing in our 1740s Massachusetts farmhouse. This early 18th-century English tableau portrays a scene of courtly love and was made available to House & Garden by Cora Ginsburg, New York.

November 21, 2009


Piazza Sempione Blue Batik-Print Tunic • Michael Kors Painterly-Print Caftan

Donna Karan Toreador-Print Skirt and Wrap Shirt
Blue, bold, and prints with sporting looks—trends appearing in Resort Wear Fashion for 2010. Shown here from Neiman Marcus.

November 19, 2009


Shopping bag design for the Brooklyn Museum of Art, design for folk craft from India

My godfather George died on March 11, 2009 and not a day goes by without my thinking about him. Peruvian belts, block-printed bedspreads from Rajasthan, and American Indian sterling bangles were the things my godfather gave me when I was a teenage girl. But his life lessons were far beyond just the interests of my teenage world. He taught me not to judge a period of art before understanding all the others. And, he taught me not to merchandise your house in decorating it. He saved merchandising for his museum shops. At the time {from 1965-1977} he started and managed the Gallery Shop at the Brooklyn Museum. George did it all—from buying {international folk craft from sixty-five countries} to merchandising, and he edited the yearly mail-order catalog. He was the best at it. Former museum director and portrait painter, Tom Buechner said that my godfather George..."did a grand job" and that "the shop was the pride of the Museum." And, former vice chairman Thomas A. Donnelly wrote in 1978 that "during George's stewardship, the Brooklyn Museum Gallery Shop reached its eminent position in the museum field and that it became the proto-type for most museum shops."

Javanese puppet and Taiwanese tiger

I recently found these drawings in a box from George's closet. They are designs for toys, ornaments and folk craft from around the world, scribbled with my godfather's notations and precise art direction. He had an incredibly intuitive and astutely trained eye with an opinion to match! He was a savvy marketer and merchandiser. I can only imagine the perfection and expertise he put into every project at the Brooklyn Museum Gallery Shop. I can hear him directing the scene now.

Painted clay acrobats from Mexico and Puppet with drum from China

Bavarian hand puppet and hand-painted Noah's Arc from Austria

Ceramic owl from Guatemala and American Indian Hopi Kachina doll

Burmese Duck and painted wood Nutcracker from Bavaria

November 16, 2009


My favorite holiday catalog cover art of the season is this painted flouncy pine-bough skirt and jacket with fur-wreath collar from The J. Peterman Company. It's both old-fashioned and fresh. And for a little black holiday dress, I love J. Peterman's classic 50s Square Neck Dress. It's demure, charming and sexy. And, it's only $169 with classic bows and all. Cotton Sateen in Black {here}.

November 12, 2009


I profiled artist Vivienne Strauss back in August. I'm a huge fan! Her watercolor above happens to be inspired by my godfather George. Viv so aptly titled it, "An extraordinary moment in George's extraordinary life." Of course, I bought the original painting the moment I saw it, but Viv also sells limited edition prints of original watercolors on her Etsy site {vivstrauss}. Viv also does commission work and her site is full of prints, original paintings, and more—just in time for the giving season!

Meet artist, Anne Harwell {annechovie} who's painted some well-known work for Style Court {like Courtney's Favorite Things, shown above}. Anne sells boxed note cards, prints of her famous chairs, and a lot more. Contact Anne for a painting of your favorite things!

Meet Jane Mount {janemount}! Jane sells limited edition prints of her Bookshelf pieces, and will also take commissions to paint yours or a friend's bookshelf. I just LOVE these small intricate paintings and just ordered one.

And finally, meet artist Patricia van Essche. Her new brand new Etsy shop consists of hand-made items, original art, printed note cards, and more. {pve design} welcomes private artwork commissions, too. I love this "Beach Girl Blue" Notebook—a great stocking stuffer or gift for teachers.

November 10, 2009


Sauce Boats from the wonderful online shop Paris Hotel Boutique
Every Thanksgiving, I have several chats with friends and siblings about gravy. After all, gravy is the secret pièce de résistance of Thanksgiving. Of course, the turkey is the crown jewel but it's the gravy that makes way for great storytelling and Thanksgiving memories. We've reminisced about how much we loved Craig Claiborne's East Hampton Thanksgiving Gravy that took twenty hours to make. Or the time I met a fancy produce truck delivering to The Four Season's in Boston, to buy their last 1/4 lb. of fresh porcini mushrooms, for that year's expensive gravy! We've had great luck with Chuck Williams' recipes—sometimes the simpler the better. This year, I pay tribute to the final issue of beloved Gourmet. The magazine has played its celebratory part in our Thanksgivings over the years. My pick for gravy including turkey {of course} is Cider-Glazed Turkey—cider turkey rules for this Thanksgiving:
Turkey Giblet Stock Makes about 4 cups Active Time: 10 min., Start to Finish: 1 HR Browning the neck and giblets, as well as the vegetables, produces a wonderfully rich stock, and subsequently, a much more flavorful gravy.
  • Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Neck and giblets (excluding the liver) from a 12-to-14 lb. turkey
  • 1 celery rib, coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion (not peeled), quartered
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 Turkish or 1/2 California bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
  • Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cut neck into 1-inch pieces. Brown neck, giblets, celery, carrot, and onion, turning occasionally, about 6 minutes. Add chicken stock, scraping up brown bits.
  • Transfer mixture to a 3-qt saucepan. Add water, bay leaf, peppercorns, and thyme and simmer, uncovered until liquid is reduced to about 4 cups, 40 to 45 minutes. Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl (discard solids). Skim off and discard any fat.
  • Cook's Note: Stock can be made 3 days ahead and chilled (covered once cool).

Cider-Glazed Turkey Gourmet | by Ian Knauer

yield: Makes 8 servings active time: 35 min total time: 4 hr

A roast turkey glazed with a buttery cider syrup is burnished outside and juicy within. You'll have more than enough gravy to ladle over the stuffing, the smashed potatoes, and tomorrow's leftovers. Ingredients For turkey:
  • 1 (12-to 14-pounds) turkey at room temperature 1 hour, neck and giblets (excluding liver) reserved for turkey stock
  • 1 apple, cut into chunks
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 small bunch thyme
  • 1 cup water
For cider glaze:
  • 1 cup unfiltered apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
For gravy:
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • Melted unsalted butter if necessary
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • About 4 cups hot turkey giblet stock {made previously}
  • Equipment: a 17- by 14-inch flameproof roasting pan with a flat rack; kitchen String; a 2-quart measuring cup or a fat separator Shopping List For This Recipe here.

Prepare turkey: Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in lower third.

Rinse turkey inside and out and pat dry. Put turkey on rack in roasting pan and season inside and out with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Put apple, onion, and thyme in large cavity. Fold neck skin under body, then tuck wing tips under breast and tie drumsticks together with string.

Roast turkey and Make cider glaze: Add water to pan and roast, without basting, 1 hour.

Meanwhile, boil cider and sugar in a small heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved, until reduced to about 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until emulsified. Let glaze stand until ready to use.

After turkey has roasted 1 hour, rotate pan 180 degrees. Roast, without basting, 40 minutes more.

Glaze turkey: Brush turkey all over with all of glaze and continue to roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into fleshy part of each thigh (test both; do not touch bone) registers 165 to 170°F, 5 to 15 minutes more (total roasting time: 1 3/4 to 2 hours).

Carefully tilt turkey so juices from inside large cavity run into pan. Transfer turkey so juices from inside large cavity run into pan. Transfer turkey to a platter (reserve juices in roasting pan) and let rest, uncovered, 30 minutes (temperature of thigh meat will rise to 170 to 175&Deg;F). Discard string.

Make gravy while turkey rests: Strain pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve into 2-quart measure and skim off fat (or use a fat separator), reserving fat.

Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners, then add wine and deglaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring and scraping up brown bits, 2 minutes. Strain through sieve into measuring cup containing pan juices.

Put 1/2 cup reserved fat (if there is less, add melted butter) in a 4-quart heavy saucepan and whisk in flour.

Cook roux over medium heat, whisking, 3 minutes. Add pan juices and stock in a fast stream, whisking constantly, then bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Briskly simmer, whisking occasionally, until gravy is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve turkey with gravy.

What to drink Josmeyer Les Folastries Gewürztraminer '05

Note: Recipe courtesy of Gourmet magazine, November 2009, A Rural Pennsylvania Thanksgiving.

Another gem from Paris Hotel Boutique

November 8, 2009


I was introduced to my friend André in 1986 by a mutual friend who thought we would "hit it off." And, that we did. André was born seventeen years ahead of me and as a result had a worldly wisdom that he bestowed upon me. He was an elegant character with undeniable intelligence and eccentricities, and I adored him. Nine years ago today, in a monsoon of rain, we celebrated André in a memorial service. As you will learn from his former Taft classmate Peter Kilborn in the story below, I inherited André's writings, and I am committed and determined to see that his work gets published.

"Finally the day died altogether, and on the horizon the brightest stars seemed to stand on pins, which proved to be Nice. The Cap Ferrat beacon kept up its one long, two short blinks of reassurance. With the day gone, Freddy fondly recalled his walk on the Cap as if it were already months and thousands of miles away, and as if it needed to be relived right now to fill an empty spot inside him. Freddy was lonely.

He felt at times like this, that his newly adopted world was really an empty balloon and not a definite structure. The balloon was going to be filled, but filling it would take him the rest of his life; he could not tell by its present shape what it would become, or even its eventual color and, as inchoate as it was, he was not sure that this mystifying balloon did not have a built-in slow leak.”

--Hotel Olive Trees, a novel by André de Riano

André de Riano was the autobiographical Frederic Ives and the Franco-American from New York we knew as Tom Ryan. Scourged by cancer, he died at 61 of a stroke or heart attack in his brownstone apartment on stately Marlborough Street in Boston’s Back Bay. He was found when his good friend Barbara had the landlord break open the door.

André left a knee-high stack of manuscripts--five novels and numerous short stories. None had ever been offered to publishers. In Hotel Olive Trees, he writes of 19-year-old Freddy, a hard-drinking, aspiring playboy and beneficiary of a bottomless trust fund. Freddy was a graduate of “St. Jonathon’s,” a boys’ boarding school in New England. He had been admitted to Harvard, but “eager to rid himself of the burden of his virginity,” he set off for Paris and the bare-breasted beaches of the Côte d’Azur.

At Taft, André formed the Current Events Club and wrote about world affairs for the Papyrus. He won the French prize and was accepted at the University of Virginia. Classmate Gil Allen, who expected to see him there, says he never showed up.

Instead André chose Paris and briefly attended the Sorbonne. From there, he roamed the sybaritic haunts of southern Europe, settling for a while in Salvador Dali’s town of Cadaqués on the Costa Brava of Spain. Back in the States, he tried New York, Hawaii and New York again. By his mid-forties, he had moved on to Boston and all these years, he labored at his novels, his “doorstoppers” he called them.

André’s apartment, strewn with paper and books and thick with the odor of cigarettes, was unnavigable, so he never entertained at home. On my trips to Boston, we would meet at the Ritz, and he would lead me off to the city’s best restaurants. Every time, he wore a blue Taft School blazer. Taft was the taproot of his youth, and perhaps he never outgrew it.

André left the manuscripts and his Taft blazer to Barbara. Barbara organized his funeral at the Church of the Advent on Beacon Hill. After the service, the mourners gathered at the Ritz, André’s afternoon haunt.

With André on Newbury Street in Boston, 1986

This past autumn, I poured through piles of paper and assembled a manuscript of André's early poetry, written between 1957 - 1963. In celebration of André's early travels, first love and heartbreak, the manuscript is titled, Voyages Nostalgiques. I've submitted the manuscript to the 2012 Honickman First Book Prize for Poetry Contest. This endeavor was made from love—both his and mine. ox

November 4, 2009


Image of Carina at home in RI, courtesy of Domino archives

Carina Schott, the founder of the delightful online store, discovered Indu Lotion at her local yoga class. I found it through Carina's store and use it when I am juice-fasting. Indu Lotion {Sanskrit> nectar of the moon} is created by Jivamukti Yoga Teacher, Marni Task. It's a lovely combination of bergamot, lavender and geranium. The scent is heavenly and the healing effects of this hydrating aromatherapy lotion are up-to-the-moon and back. Geranium balances emotions and relieves weariness and stress. Lavender helps to promote clear thinking, calms and soothes the skin, and is great for circulation. Bergamot, the essential oil used in creating my daily favorite Earl Grey Tea, is uplifting for emotions and supports vitality. Added bonus: Marni mixes the lotion with one essential mantra "om namah shivaya" which means "the thought that liberates and protects." For a list of ingredients and to purchase.

A few other great picks from

Elephant onesie, Sweetheart Pillow, PomPom Necklace, Navy Wave Tote

November 1, 2009


Hats are back. And, one of the reasons why is the incredibly talented Albertus Swanepoel. Born and raised in South Africa, Swanepoel trained as a milliner under Janine Galimard, who worked for Balenciaga in Paris in the 1950's and 60's. After working as an assistant to Lola and then Lynne Mackey {creating hats for Broadway shows}, he briefly had a stint as a Style Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings. In 2004, Albertus began his brilliant collaborations with New York designers, including: Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Carolina Herrera, Peter Som, Diane Von Furstenberg, Jason Wu, and many others. His label {namesake Albertus Swanepoel} sells to top retailers like Barneys, Paul Smith, and Louis Boston. In 2009, he was nominated for a Swarovski CFDA Accessory Award.

I spent some time on 1stdibs today to see if I could find some vintage hats from the 60's that might inspire Albertus Swanepoel. I think I may have found a few!

1st Dibs ~ left to right: YSL Jockey hat, Patchwork Felt Mosaic hat, Tri-Color Jockey hat


Almost every day, I take a bike ride and stop to check out the surf. Here is a little bit from today. Lately, our beach has suffered serious coastal erosion and we all keep our fingers crossed with every major storm. In March, President Obama signed a bill that contains funds for channel dredging—sand that will be used to bolster the beach where erosion has been the worst. We are grateful for the beauty of our Massachusetts coastline and we hope that mother nature slows down her efforts to reclaim her.